London's hospitality businesses at risk from lack of tourists and office workers

Millie Milliken

Millie Milliken

01 September 2020

A call for a campaign to support the capital's hospitality and tourism businesses has been made by over 90 business leaders and UKHospitality

It comes as reports from hospitality businesses outside of London suggest that trading is at 70% of pre-coronavirus levels. The group has warned that if a coordinated campaign to encourage tourists and office workers back to London isn't made, then the two sectors in the capital will be at risk of failure.

In a letter to the PM and Mayor of London, businesses have also highlighted the risks to the retail, leisure and supply chains if workers and tourists aren't encouraged to come back into the city, not to mention the 'tens of thousands of jobs' that could be saved.

'The capital is at a very real risk of finding itself totally left behind the rest of the UK and global competitors,' warned UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls. 'Around the country, life is beginning to return to some degree of normality. People are returning to work and hospitality businesses are slowly starting to bounce back from a disastrous few months.

'Outside of London, we are seeing trading back to 70% of pre-Covid levels, in some cases. The case is much bleaker in London. Some businesses are struggling to hit double figures and the reality is that businesses are going to fail, with the associated job losses, if nothing is done.'

Nicholls also cited Visit Britian stats that show inbound tourism to the UK in 2020 has delcined by 73% in visits and 79% in spending, amassing to a loss of £12bn in London's international tourism spend. 'The latest estimates also show that only 30% of British office workers are back at their desks and only 15% of businesses expect the majority of staff to be back by the end of September,' Nicholls continued.

'There must be a joined-up plan from both the government in Westminster and the Mayor’s Office to get London back up and running again. Otherwise, we will see widespread job losses and the destruction of years of progress in establishing London as one of the world’s leading cities for commerce and tourism.'

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